Ben Tinsley photo.
“Today was really kind of hard,” observed Emily Moffett, 18, a senior at George West High School in her second year of competition. “It wasn’t this wet last year.”
But the determined group didn’t let grumpy Mother Nature deter them from the tasks at hand. The 11 Live Oak County contestants continued under the watchful eyes of judges Diane Kid, Melinda Cox, and Linda Stanford.
Those competing were: Carlee Martinez, 8, grade 3; Allison Rowe, 10, grade 4; Syndilyn Maguglin, 10, grade 5; Harleigh Loryle Goebel, 12, grade 6; Hannah Reed, 13, grade 8; Kimbra Joe Fox 15, grade 9; Katelynn Kegebein, 16, grade 10; Jae Petru, 17, grade 12; Emily Moffett, 18, grade 12; Leigha Mack, 11, age 6; and Audrey Dobson, 11, grade 6.
Because of the rain, the group was forced to depart the Live Oak County Fair Grounds and re-group for horse showing on the covered private property along U.S. Highway 281 that belongs to Rusty Williams. A predetermined arrangement between the group and go-between Pete Fox allowed them to temporarily borrow that property in reserve.
When all is said and done, a new Miss Rodeo LOC Queen will be crowned Friday night by 2013 title-holder Ely Williamson — a 16-year-old George West High School sophomore. These results are expected just before 7 p.m. Friday right, prior to when the Live Oak County Fair Rodeo begins at the fairgrounds along Highway 281 North.
When all is said and done, there will be a new Miss Rodeo LOC Queen and a first and second runner up to that title. There will also be a Junior Miss Rodeo LOC Queen and Princess and their respective first and second runners up. Additionally, the senior Miss Rodeo LOC Queen will benefit from a special scholarship.
But those results were not even visible on the horizon this past Saturday.
There was more disarray to deal with than just the weather. The director of the event had to abruptly relinquish her duties as director to follow her husband to the Rodeo Ranch Finals in which he was competing in Houston.
That unexpected development shunted directorial duties into the capable hands of Morgan Hunter, 20, a three-year veteran contestant of the Miss Rodeo Live Oak County event. She was assisted in her duties by Jacy Johnson, 19, also an event veteran. Morgan and Jacy deftly handed a variety of tasks ranging from coordinating all events to keeping reporters out of chairs reserved for judges.
“You have to move from here, but we have plenty of hay,” Jacy said to the reporter with a friendly smile.
After the first portion of the contest (the horse showing) was completed Saturday, everyone reconvened at a hotel in George West. There, the girls changed clothes and prepared their hair prior to formal interviews with judges.
While waiting to be called, the girls munched on a healthy buffet of fruit and cheese, chips and pigs in the blanket while chatting with one another — or preparing for their judge presentations.
The seniors participating for the aforementioned scholarship were required to deliver a Texas-themed speech to judges. Jae Petru for instance, practiced her oratory about the historical Six Flags of Texas with her 13-year-old brother Cody.
Younger girls, such as Alison Rowe, 10, say they find the contest fascinating. The McMullen County ISD fourth-grader is in her second year.
“They asked us questions like, ‘Why do you want to be Miss Princess?’” Allison said. “And they asked me to name the five colors of a horse.”
Those, of course, are bay, black, brown, chestnut and white.
Syndilyn Maguglin, 10, was in her first year of the event and also having a blast.
“This is a really good experience,” said Syndilyn, who likes public speaking. “When they asked why I wanted to be Miss Rodeo Live Oak County, I told them it was because it is an honor to serve and be a good role model.… It’s lot of fun.”
Miss Rodeo LOC 2013, Ely Williamson, said she loves the public service aspect of the crown.
“It’s fun to travel on parades with Miss Live Oak and the runners-up to pass out ribbons at the county fair,” the crown holder said.
Reporter Ben Tinsley can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 361-786-3022.